I studied at one of those reputed law schools. Spent 10 years in the high flying legal and banking world of London. Never paid a bribe in my 12 years abroad.
In 2011, I came home to run the family business. India was starting to shimmer and I wanted to be there when it really started to shine. Heck, I wanted to help with the polishing process.
There were lots of messy cash transactions and less than legit dealings. In my first year, I spent more time counting cash than analysing our performance. After that, I spent three years cleaning up our act. Faced a lot of resistance. Reluctantly paid a few bribes along the way. Last year, we finally became 100% legit. I began to sleep more peacefully.
Demonetisation was a dream come true. We were baying for radical policy reform and we finally got it. We thought GST would do the job of cleaning up and â€śorganisingâ€ť our industry, but demonetisation short circuited the entire process. I understand that the UPI being built by Nilekani is miles ahead of payment solutions anywhere else in the world.
Of course, we are enduring terrible short term pain. Business is down by 50%. This week we have told our 1000 strong factory workforce that we can only employ them on alternate days. Many have come from Orissa and Assam and do not have any savings. Iâ€™m expecting trouble.
My aunty died suddenly. Thank God, we have a big family! Everyone donated a small wad of their cash so that we could clear the ambulance bills. We needed a â€śNo Objection Certificateâ€ť to move the body to Kerala. Spent a few very painful hours in the police station. It took ages, because we just didnâ€™t want to â€śspeedâ€ť up the process. This was five days after India turned white and legit â€“ how could we pay a bribe?
A few weeks have now passed since the clean getaway from the police station. Today, I needed to register an FIR at the same police station for a lost debit card. I must congratulate the government on digitalising the entire process â€“ the entire FIR was filed in 5 minutes on a mobile phone and I got a digitally signed email copy instantaneously.
As I walked out of the police station, grinning broadly at the bright future of Digital India, the sweet police amma asked if I was happy. I said yes. She said that if I was happy then I could give her something. I had 200 rupees in my pocket and I gave it to her. I didnâ€™t need to as I had finished my work. But I did for some reason.
We are like that only I guess.